“Proclaiming the Gospel with Lofty Words of Eloquence”

By Akin Ojumu

“In promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical, or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your conversational communications demonstrate a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibleness, no coalescent conglomerations of precious garrulity, jejune bafflement, and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous verbal evaporations and expatriations have lucidity, intelligibility, and veracious vivacity without rodomontade or Thespian bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous propensity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, obnoxious jocosity, and pestiferous profanity, observable or apparent.” (Mark Twain).

I love words. Creatively crafted words get me all juiced up all the time. I tend to go gaga every time I hear eloquently articulated words. When you are a man with a tied tongue, I guess it’s a lot easier to appreciate the beauty of well written and eloquently spoken words. People like me, limited in the magnitude of their vocabulary prowess, have the propensity to fall head over heel for those gifted with literary acumen.

As a 10-year-old child, a relative of mine, who was then an undergraduate student at the University of Ibadan, made me memorize the above quote that’s credited to Mark Twain. Like a chanting shaman, I would recite those words to my verbacious relative, over and over again, until they became ingrained in my mind.

This my older relative was teaching me, as he understood it, how to impress the ladies. According to him, the best way to win a girl's heart, especially if you are a Juliet-seeking Romeo with limited means, is to have your vocabulary armamentarium loaded with big sounding words.

My sesquipedalian relative comes to mind whenever I hear the message of salvation preached by modern-day preachers. Many Christians believe, it seems, that in order to save a sinner, you need a highfalutin cocktail of empty rhetoric. 

Sadly, their “…extemporaneous verbal evaporations and expatriations lack lucidity, intelligibility and veracious vivacity and is thick with rodomontade and is bombastically Thespian…” Which is to say, their many words often lack the fervent efficacy to save lost souls.

Here’s what Paul told the haughty and carnal-minded believers in the Corinthian assembly, according to 1 Corinthians 2:1 and 4:

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In this modern age of heavy commercialization and showbiz, the very essence of the Gospel is lost in the midst of banal, trite, and stale messages which are oppressively dull and unpleasantly lifeless, i.e., ponderous platitudes, lacking nothing but the most important thing, the demonstration of the awesome power of God. 

The life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior have been reduced to mere denomination tribal identity, spiritless programs, and the mundane gyrations of religious exercises. True passion for God and fervency for His righteousness have long given way to the relentless pursuit of material wealth and the ceaseless emphasis on high steepled glass cathedrals, tithes and offerings. 

In the midst of all the pseudo spiritual hullabaloo, authentic Christianity, which is purely and simply being Christ-like, and the true Gospel, have become a muddle of gibberish cacophony and sensual pandemonium.

Yet, the message of the Lord Jesus Christ was known for its simplicity, and the life He lived was nothing but spartan.

To be continued…


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